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Beeching cuts

The overgrown viaduct across Lobb Ghyll on the Skipton to Ilkley Line in Yorkshire, built by the Midland Railway in 1888 and closed in 1965
A nineteenth-century railway bridge over the River Spey, closed in 1965 and now part of the Moray Coast trail
Part of the former Chippenham and Calne line, now a cycleway

The Beeching cuts, also colloquially referred to as the Beeching Axe, were a major series of route closures and service changes made as part of the restructuring of the nationalised railway system in Great Britain in the 1960s. They are named for Dr. Richard Beeching, then-chair of the British Railways Board and the author of two reports – The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965) – that outlined the necessity[citation needed] of improving the efficiency of the railways and the plan for achieving this through restructuring.

The first report identified 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of railway line for closure, amounting to 55% of stations, 30% of route miles, and the loss of 67,700 British Rail jobs,[1] with an objective of stemming the large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport and reducing the rail subsidies necessary to keep the network running. The second report identified a small number of major routes for significant investment. Such was the scale of these cuts that the programme came to be colloquially referred to as the Beeching Axe, though the 1963 report also recommended some less well-publicised changes; including a switch to the now-standard practice of containerisation for rail freight, and the replacement of some services with integrated bus services linked to the remaining railheads.

Protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned. Beeching's name remains associated with the mass closure of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed. A few of these routes have since reopened. Some short sections have been preserved as heritage railways, while others have been incorporated into the National Cycle Network or used for road schemes. Others have since been built over, have reverted to farmland, or remain derelict with no plans for any reuse or redevelopment. Some, such as the bulk of the Midland Metro network around Birmingham and Wolverhampton, have since been incorporated into light rail lines.


Banchory railway station on the Deeside Railway, Scotland, in 1961. The station closed in 1966.

After growing rapidly in the 19th century during the Railway Mania, the British railway system reached its height in the years immediately before the First World War, with a network of 23,440 miles (37,720 km).[2] The network had opened up major travel opportunities for the entire country that had never been available before. However, lines were sometimes uneconomic, and several Members of Parliament had direct involvement with railways, creating a conflict of interest.[3] In 1909, Winston Churchill, then President of the Board of Trade, argued that the country's railways did not have a future without rationalisation and amalgamation.[4] By 1914, the railways had some significant problems, such as a lack of standard rolling stock and too many duplicated routes.[3]

After the war, the railways faced increasing competition from a growing road transport network, which had increased to 8 million tons of freight annually by 1921.[5] Around 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of passenger railways closed between 1923 and 1939. These closures included the Charnwood Forest Railway, closed to passengers in 1931, and the Harborne Line in Birmingham, closed to passengers in 1934.[6][page needed] Some lines had never been profitable and were not subject to loss of traffic in that period.[7] The railways were busy during the Second World War, but at the end of the war they were in a poor state of repair and in 1948 nationalised as British Railways.

The Branch Lines Committee of the British Transport Commission (BTC) was formed in 1949 with a brief to close the least-used branch lines. This resulted in the loss (or conversion to freight-only operation) of some 3,318 miles (5,340 km) of railway between 1948 and 1962.[6][page needed] The most significant closure was that of the former Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway in 1959. In opposition to these cuts, the period also witnessed the beginning of a protest movement led by the Railway Development Association, whose most famous member was the poet John Betjeman.[8][page needed] They went on to be a significant force resisting the Beeching proposals.

Economic recovery and the end of petrol rationing led to rapid growth in car ownership and use. Vehicle mileage grew at a sustained annual rate of 10% between 1948 and 1964.[9] In contrast, railway traffic remained steady during the 1950s[10] but the economic situation steadily deteriorated, with labour costs rising faster than income[8][page needed][10] and fares and freight charges repeatedly frozen by the government to try to control inflation.[8][page needed] By 1955, the railways' share of the transport market had dropped from 16% to 5%.[11]

The 1955 Modernisation Plan promised expenditure of over £1,240 million; steam locomotives would be replaced with diesel and electric locomotives, traffic levels would increase, and the system was predicted to be back in profit by 1962.[12][page needed] Instead losses mounted, from £68 million in 1960 to £87 million in 1961, and £104 million in 1962 (£2.8 billion in 2023 terms).[13][14] The BTC could no longer pay the interest on its loans.

By 1961, losses were running at £300,000 a day;[15] since nationalisation in 1948, 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of line had been closed,[16][failed verification] railway staff numbers had fallen 26% from 648,000 to 474,000,[17] and the number of railway wagons had fallen 29% from 1,200,000 to 848,000.[18]

The Beeching reports

The Reshaping of British Railways (Beeching I)

A copy of The Reshaping of British Railways report, displayed beside the National Union of Railwaymen's response pamphlet

The first Beeching report, titled The Reshaping of British Railways, was published on 27 March 1963.[19]

The report starts by quoting the brief provided by the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, from 1960: "First, the industry must be of a size and pattern suited to modern conditions and prospects. In particular, the railway system must be modelled to meet current needs, and the modernisation plan must be adapted to this new shape"[20] and with the premise that the railways should be run as a profitable business.[21]

Beeching first studied traffic flows on all lines to identify "the good, the bad, and the indifferent".[22] His analysis showed that the least-used 1,762 stations had annual passenger receipts of less than £2,500 each (£73,000 as of 2024[14]), that over half of the 4,300 stations open to passengers in 1960 had receipts of less than £10,000,[23] that the least-used 50% of stations contributed only 2% of passenger revenue,[24] and that one third of route miles carried just 1% of passengers.[25]

By way of example, he noted that the line from Thetford to Swaffham carried five trains each weekday in each direction, carrying an average of nine passengers with only 10% of the costs of operating the line covered by fares; another example was the Gleneagles-Crieff-Comrie line which had ten trains a day and five passengers on average, earning only 25% of costs. Finally there was the service from Hull to York via Beverley (using part of the Yorkshire Coast Line, which was not closed, and the York to Beverley Line, which was). The line covered 80% of its operating costs, but he calculated that it could be closed because there was an alternative, albeit less direct, route.[26]

Out of 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of railway, Beeching recommended that 6,000 miles (9,700 km)—mostly rural and industrial lines—should be closed entirely, and that some of the remaining lines should be kept open only for freight. A total of 2,363 stations were to close, including 435 already under threat, both on lines that were to close and on lines that were to remain open.[27]

He recommended that freight services should mainly be for bulk commodities such as minerals and coal, and that the freight system make use of new containerised handling systems rather than less efficient and slower wagon-load traffic. The latter recommendation would prove prescient with the rise of intermodal freight transport in the following decades.[28]

The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (Beeching II)

A map of Great Britain, showing "major lines" identified by Beeching II in bold

On 16 February 1965, Beeching introduced the second stage of his reorganisation of the railways. In his report, The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes, he set out his conclusion that of the 7,500 miles (12,100 km) of trunk railway only 3,000 miles (4,800 km) "should be selected for future development" and invested in.

This policy would result in long-distance traffic being routed along nine lines. Traffic to Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland would be routed through the West Coast Main Line to Carlisle and Glasgow; traffic to the north-east of England would be concentrated through the East Coast Main Line as far as Newcastle; and traffic to Wales and the West Country would go on the Great Western Main Line to Swansea and Plymouth.

Underpinning Beeching's proposals was his belief that there was too much duplication in the railway network: "The real choice is between an excessive and increasingly un-economic system, with a corresponding tendency for the railways as a whole to fall into disrepute and decay, or the selective development and intensive utilisation of a more limited trunk route system".[29] Of the 7,500 miles (12,100 km) of trunk route, 3,700 miles (6,000 km) involves a choice between two routes, 700 miles (1,100 km) a choice of three, and over a further 700 miles (1,100 km) a choice of four.[30] In Scotland, only the Central Belt routes and the lines via Fife and Perth to Aberdeen were selected for development, and none were selected in Wales, apart from the Great Western Main Line as far as Swansea.

Beeching's secondment from ICI ended early in June 1965 after Harold Wilson's attempt to get him to produce a transport plan failed. It is a matter of debate whether Beeching left by mutual arrangement with the government or if he was sacked. Frank Cousins, the Labour Minister of Technology, told the House of Commons in November 1965 that Beeching had been dismissed by Tom Fraser, then Minister of Transport.[31] Beeching denied this, pointing out that he had returned early to ICI as he would not have had enough time to undertake an in-depth transport study before the formal end of his secondment.[32]

The closures

Prospect Tunnel lay on the Harrogate to Church Fenton Line, one of the first lines to be closed

The first report was accepted by the Conservative government of the day, which argued that many services could be provided more effectively by buses.[33] Most recommendations were subsequently taken forward by the Labour government elected in 1964, but many of the proposed closures sparked protests from communities that would lose their trains, a number of which (especially rural communities) had no other public transport.[34][better source needed]

Line closures had been running at about 150–300 miles per year between 1950 and 1961. They peaked at 1,000 miles (1,600 km) in 1964 and came to a virtual halt by the early 1970s.[35][failed verification] One of the last major closures was the 98-mile (158 km) Waverley Route between Carlisle, Hawick and Edinburgh in 1969; the reopening of a 35-mile section of this line was approved in 2006 and passenger services resumed in September 2015.[36]

Holiday and coastal resorts were severely affected by the closures. The report recommended closing almost all services along the coasts of north Devon, Cornwall and East Anglia aside from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. All services on the Isle of Wight were recommended for closure, as were all branch lines in the Lake District. One of the most significant closures was the Great Central Main Line from London Marylebone to Leicester and Sheffield.[33]

Not all the recommended closures were implemented. Reprieved lines include:

The Beeching Report was intended to be the first stage in the rail network's contraction.[40][page needed] As a result, some lines it had not recommended for closure were subsequently shut down, such as the Woodhead line between Manchester and Sheffield in 1981, after the decline of the freight traffic (mostly coal) on which it had relied.[41] Many surviving lines were rationalised, including reduction to single track and consolidation of signals.[42] Most of the Oxford–Cambridge Varsity Line closed despite its strategic location serving Milton Keynes, Britain's largest "new town".[43] Kinross-shire, and Fife especially, suffered closures not included in the Report, including the main line from Edinburgh to Perth. King's Lynn was to have remained at the centre of routes towards Norwich, Hunstanton and Wisbech, all of which closed.

With a few exceptions, after the early 1970s proposals to close other lines were met with vociferous public opposition and were shelved.[citation needed]

Critical analysis

Disposals of land and structures

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A demolition train during the dismantling of the Salisbury and Dorset Line in 1965
Both Wednesbury Town railway station and the South Staffordshire Railway were closed, and were still in ruins in 2003.

Beeching's reports made no recommendations about the handling of land after closures. British Rail operated a policy of disposing of land that was surplus to requirements. Many bridges, cuttings and embankments have been removed and the land sold for development. Closed station buildings on remaining lines have often been demolished or sold for housing or other purposes. Increasing pressure on land use meant that protection of closed trackbeds, as in other countries, such as the US Rail Bank scheme, which holds former railway land for possible future use, was not seen to be practical.[44]

Many redundant structures from closed lines remain, such as bridges over other lines and drainage culverts. They often require maintenance as part of the rail infrastructure while providing no benefit. Critics of Beeching argue that the lack of recommendations on the handling of closed railway property demonstrates that the report was short-sighted. On the other hand, retaining a railway on these routes, which would obviously have increased maintenance costs, might not have earned enough to justify that greater cost. As demand for rail has grown since the 1990s, the failure to preserve the routes of closed lines, such as the one between Bedford and Cambridge, which was closed despite Beeching recommending its retention, has been criticised.[45]

Acceptance of rail subsidies

By 1968, the railways had not been restored to profitability and Beeching's approach appeared to many to have failed. It has been suggested that by closing almost a third of the network Beeching achieved a saving of just £30 million, whilst overall losses were running in excess of £100 million per year.[8][page needed] However, the precise savings from closures are impossible to calculate.[35][page needed] The Ministry of Transport subsequently estimated that rail operating costs had been cut by over £100 million in the wake of the Beeching Report but that much of this had been swallowed up by increased wages. Some of the branches closed acted as feeders to the main lines, and that feeder traffic was lost when the branches closed; the financial significance of this is debatable, for over 90% of the railways' 1960 traffic was carried on lines which remained open ten years later.[40][page needed]

Whatever the figures, towards the end of the 1960s it became increasingly clear that rail closures were not bringing the rail system out of deficit and were unlikely ever to do so.[6][page needed] Transport minister Barbara Castle decided that some rail services, which could not pay their way but had a valuable social role, should be subsidised. Legislation allowing this was introduced in the Transport Act 1968. Section 39 made provision for a subsidy to be paid by the Treasury for a three-year period. This was later repealed in the Railways Act 1974. Whether these subsidies affected the size of the network is questionable: the criteria for reprieving loss-making lines had not altered, merely the way their costs appeared in the railways accounts—previously their contribution to the railways' overall loss was hidden in the total deficit.[40][page needed]

Replacement buses and proposed alternatives

The "bustitution" policy that replaced rail services with buses also failed. In many cases the replacement bus services were slower and less convenient than the trains they were meant to replace, and so were unpopular.[8][page needed] Replacement bus services were often run between the (now disused) station sites (some of which were some distance from the population centres they served), thus losing any potential advantage over the closed rail service. Most replacement bus services lasted less than two years before they were removed due to a lack of patronage,[46] leaving large parts of the country with no public transport.

The assumption at the time[citation needed] was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and continue their journey onwards by train. In practice, having left home in their cars, people used them for the whole journey. Similarly for freight: without branch lines, the railways' ability to transport goods "door to door" was dramatically reduced. As in the passenger model, it was assumed that lorries would pick up goods and transport them to the nearest railhead, where they would be taken across the country by train, unloaded onto another lorry and taken to their destination. The development of the motorway network, the advent of containerisation, improvements in lorries and the economic costs of having two break-bulk points combined to make long-distance road transport a more viable alternative.

Many of the closed lines had run at only a small deficit. Some lines such as the Sunderland-to-West Hartlepool line cost only £291 per mile to operate.[6][page needed] Closures of such small-scale loss-making lines made little difference to the overall deficit.

Possible changes to light railway-type operations were attacked by Beeching, who wrote: "The third suggestion, that rail buses should be substituted for trains, ignores the high cost of providing the route itself, and also ignores the fact that rail buses are more expensive vehicles than road buses." There is little in the Beeching report recommending general economies (in administration costs, working practices and so on). For example, a number of the stations that were closed were fully staffed 18 hours a day, on lines controlled by multiple Victorian era signalboxes (again fully staffed, often throughout the day). Operating costs could have been reduced by reducing staff and removing redundant services on these lines while keeping the stations open. This has since been successfully achieved by British Rail and its successors on lesser-used lines that survived the cuts, such as the East Suffolk Line from Ipswich to Lowestoft, which survives as a "basic railway".[8][page needed]

The Marshlink line between Ashford International and Hastings, threatened with closure in the Beeching Report, is now seen as important due to the opening of the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1.[47] Traffic on the single-track Golden Valley Line between Kemble and Swindon and the Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester has increased significantly, and double track has now been reinstated on the Golden Valley Line, partly to facilitate a diversionary route during electrification and other works on the Severn tunnel line.[citation needed]

The people and the politics

The Conservatives increased their Commons majority in the general election of 8 October 1959, their first with Harold Macmillan as Prime Minister. Ernest Marples, previously Postmaster General, was made Transport Minister two weeks later in a cabinet reshuffle; Macmillan noted that the Northern working-class boy who had won a scholarship to a grammar school was one of only two "self-made men" in his cabinet.[48]

Marples had a background with a successful road construction company. When opening the M1 motorway, he said: "This motorway starts a new era in road travel. It is in keeping with the bold scientific age in which we live. It is a powerful weapon to add to our transport system." His association with the high-profile construction company Marples Ridgway became a matter of concern to both the public and politicians. As is customary, he resigned as a director of the company in 1951 on becoming a junior minister, but he only disposed of his shares in the company in 1960 after the company won a contract to build the Hammersmith Flyover, when questions were asked both in the media and also in the Commons on 28 January 1960;[49] he made a statement to the House later that day confirming that the sale of shares was in hand and would be completed "very soon", noting that as part of the agreement he could be required to buy the shares from the purchaser at the original price after he ceased to hold office, if so desired by the purchaser.[50] While it was reported that he sold the shares to his wife, she denied in a newspaper interview, that any transaction had taken place. It was reported that he had transferred his shares into an Overseas Trust.[citation needed] In July 1964, Marples Ridgway and Partners Limited[51] were awarded a £4.1 million contract for the "Hendon Urban Motorway" extension of the M1,[52] in the same year that the company was taken over by the Bath and Portland Group.[53] There was no evidence of any wrongdoing on anyone's part in this or any of the other contracts awarded to the company during his term of office, but it did lead to a sense of unease, not least within the railway sector.[54]

In April 1960, Sir Ivan Stedeford established an advisory group known as the Stedeford Committee at the request of Harold Macmillan to report on the state of the British Transport Commission and to make recommendations.[55] Sir Ewart Smith, a retired former Chief Engineer at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), was asked by Ernest Marples to become a member of an advisory group; Smith declined but recommended Richard Beeching in his place, a suggestion that Marples accepted.[56] Beeching, who held a PhD in physics, had been appointed to the main board of ICI at the age of 43. The board consisted of senior figures in British businesses, and none of the board had previous knowledge or experience of the railway industry.[55] Stedeford and Beeching clashed on a number of issues,[57] but the future size of the railway system was not one of them. For all the suspicion it aroused, the committee had little to say on this and the government was already convinced of the need to reduce the size of the rail network.[40][page needed] In spite of questions being asked in Parliament, Sir Ivan's report was not published at the time. In December 1960 questions were asked in the Lords about this "secret" and "under-the-counter" study group, criticising the continued withholding of the report and its recommendations.[58] It was later suggested that Stedeford had recommended that the government should set up another body "to consider the size and pattern of the railway system required to meet current and foreseeable needs, in the light of developments and trends in other forms of transport ... and other relevant considerations".[59]

Marples then appointed Beeching as Chairman of the British Transport Commission in March 1961.[15] He would receive the same yearly salary that he was earning at ICI, the controversial sum of £24,000 (£675,000 in 2023 terms), £10,000 more than Sir Brian Robertson, the previous chairman of the BTC, £14,000 more than Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and two-and-a-half times higher than the salary of any head of a nationalised industry at the time. At that time the government was seeking outside talent to sort out the huge problems of the railway network, and he was confident that he could make the railways pay for themselves, but his salary, at 35 times that of many railway workers, has been described as a "political disaster".[60]

The Transport Act 1962 dissolved the British Transport Commission (BTC), which had overseen the railways, canals and road freight transport and established the British Railways Board, which took over on 1 January 1963, with Dr Beeching as its first chairman. The Act put in place measures that simplified the process of closing railways by removing the need for the pros and cons of each case to be heard in detail. It was described as the "most momentous piece of legislation in the field of railway law to have been enacted since the Railway and Canal Traffic Act 1854".[61]

The general election in October 1964 returned a Labour government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson after 13 years of Conservative government. During the election campaign Labour had promised to halt rail closures if elected, but it quickly backtracked, and later oversaw some of the most controversial closures. Tom Fraser was appointed Minister of Transport, but was replaced by Barbara Castle in December 1965. Castle published a map in 1967,[62] Network for Development, showing the railway system "stabilised" at around 11,000 route miles (17,700 km).[40][page needed]

Section 39 of the Transport Act 1968 made provision for grants to be paid in relation to loss-making lines and services,[63] but many of the services and railway lines that would have qualified had already been closed. A number of branch lines and local services were saved by this legislation.[64][full citation needed]

After 1970, when the Conservatives were returned to power, serious thought was given to a further programme of closures, but this proved politically impossible.[40][page needed] In 1982, under the government of Margaret Thatcher, Sir David Serpell, a civil servant who had worked with Beeching, compiled the Serpell Report which said that a profitable railway could be achieved only by closing much of what remained.[46] The report's infamous "Option A" proposed greatly increasing fares and reducing the rail network to a mere 1,630 miles (2,620 km), leaving only 22 miles (35 km) of railway in Wales (a section of the South Wales Main Line from the Severn Tunnel to Cardiff Central) and none in Somerset, Devon or Cornwall. The Midland Main Line was planned to close, leaving Leicester and Derby without a rail link, while the East Coast Main Line, part of the key London/Edinburgh link, was intended to be cut north of Newcastle. The report was published on 20 January 1983 and received an immediate backlash from the media. It was quietly shelved in the run up to the 1983 election.[65][66]

Ian Hislop comments that history has been somewhat unkind to "Britain's most hated civil servant", by forgetting that Beeching proposed a much better bus service that ministers never delivered, and that in some ways he was used to do their "dirty work for them". Hislop describes him as "a technocrat [who] wasn't open to argument to romantic notions of rural England or the warp and weft of the train in our national identity. He didn't buy any of that. He went for a straightforward profit and loss approach and some claim we are still reeling from that today".[67] Beeching was unrepentant about his role in the closures: "I suppose I'll always be looked upon as the axe man, but it was surgery, not mad chopping".[68]

On 7 June 2019, former Minister for Transport Andrew Adonis delivered a speech on "Reversing Beeching".[69]


Rail modal share 1952–2015[70]
Rail passengers in Great Britain 1829–2021

Since the Beeching cuts, road traffic levels have grown significantly. As well, since privatisation in the mid-1990s, there have been record levels of passengers on the railways owing to a preference to living in smaller towns and rural areas, and in turn commuting longer distances[71] (although the cause of this is disputed). A few of the railway closures have been reversed. However, despite the considerable increase in railway journeys since the mid-1990s, rail transport's share of the total passenger transport market remains below that of the early 1960s, with road overwhelmingly the dominant mode: rail's market share was 13% in 1961, 6% in 1991 and 2001, and 10% in 2014.[70]

Some closed stations have reopened, and passenger services have been restored on a few lines where they had been removed.

Heritage railways

Some lines closed under the Beeching cuts have reopened as private heritage railways. Some examples are East Lancs Railway, Great Central Railway (heritage railway), Mid Hants Railway, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, North Norfolk Railway and West Somerset Railway.

In popular culture

Flanders and Swann, writers and performers of satirical songs, wrote a lament for lines closed by the Beeching cuts entitled "Slow Train" (1963). Michael Williams' book On the slow train takes its name from the Flanders and Swann song. It celebrates 12 of the most beautiful and historic journeys in Britain, some of which were saved from the Beeching cuts.[72] It perpetuated the myth that the Beeching cuts were concerned solely with sleepy rural branch lines, but they actually also concerned well-used "industrial" and commuter lines.

The BBC TV comedy series Oh, Doctor Beeching!, broadcast from 1995 to 1997, was set at a small fictional branch-line railway station threatened with closure under the Beeching cuts.

In the satirical magazine Private Eye, the "Signal Failures" column on railway issues is written under the pseudonym "Dr. B. Ching".

The lyrics of the I Like Trains song "The Beeching Report" are a criticism of Dr Beeching and the Beeching cuts.[citation needed]

Closures by year

The remains of Rugby Central Station on the former Great Central Railway
An abandoned stone bridge spans the route of the Otley and Ilkley Joint Railway through Otley, which was closed in 1965.

The list below shows over 7,000 miles (11,000 km) of closures:

Year Total length closed
1950 150 miles (240 km)
1951 275 miles (443 km)
1952 300 miles (480 km)
1953 275 miles (443 km)
1954 to 1957 500 miles (800 km)
1958 150 miles (240 km)
1959 350 miles (560 km)
1960 175 miles (282 km)
1961 150 miles (240 km)
1962 780 miles (1,260 km)
Beeching report published
1963 324 miles (521 km)
1964 1,058 miles (1,703 km)
1965 600 miles (970 km)
1966 750 miles (1,210 km)
1967 300 miles (480 km)
1968 400 miles (640 km)
1969 250 miles (400 km)
1970 275 miles (443 km)
1971 23 miles (37 km)
1972 50 miles (80 km)
1973 35 miles (56 km)

After this period, "residual" Beeching closures took place: Bridport to Maiden Newton in 1975,[73] Alston to Haltwhistle in 1976,[74] and Woodside to Selsdon in 1983.[75]

See also



  1. ^ Macintyre, D. (1 January 1994). "The 1963 Cabinet Papers / British Rail: Beeching branded 'PR disaster'". The Independent. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  2. ^ White 1986, p. 18.
  3. ^ a b Clough 2013, p. 15.
  4. ^ Clough 2013, p. 16.
  5. ^ Clough 2013, p. 27.
  6. ^ a b c d e f White 1986.
  7. ^ Clough 2013, p. 11.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Henshaw 1994.
  9. ^ "Table TRA0101: Road traffic (vehicle miles) by vehicle type in Great Britain, annual from 1949" (XLS). Department for Transport. 23 June 2011. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  10. ^ a b "The Great Vanishing Railway".
  11. ^ DfT 2007, p. 38.
  12. ^ Wolmar 2005.
  13. ^ "Department details: AH/37 (British Railways Board)". The National Digital Archive of Datasets. Kew: The National Archives. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006.
  14. ^ a b UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  15. ^ a b "British Transport Commission (Chairman)". Hansard. House of Commons. 21 March 1961. Vol. 637 cc. 223–343.
  16. ^ Daniels & Dench 1973.
  17. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 50.
  18. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 46.
  19. ^ Garry Keenor. "The Reshaping of British Railways – Part 1: Report". The Railways Archive. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  20. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 1.
  21. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 2, "It is, of course the responsibility of the British Railways Board so to shape and operate the railways as to make them pay".
  22. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 3, "Ever since major amalgamations started, the business of railways has been, from a financial point of view, a mixture of good, bad, and indifferent".
  23. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 65.
  24. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 66.
  25. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 64.
  26. ^ Beeching 1963a, pp. 96–99, Appendix 2.
  27. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 97.
  28. ^ Beeching 1963a, pp. 141–148, Appendix 4 – The Liner Train.
  29. ^ Beeching 1965, p. 45.
  30. ^ "The Second Stage of Dr. Beeching's Reorganisation Proposals". The Times. 17 February 1965. p. 8.
  31. ^ "Mr. Cousins says 'We Sacked Beeching'". The Times. 17 November 1965. p. 12.
  32. ^ "Lord Beeching: 'I Was Not Sacked'". The Times. 18 November 1965. p. 12.
  33. ^ a b "Beeching Report Proposes Closing Nearly a Third of Britain's 7,000 Railway Stations". The Times. No. 55661. 28 March 1963. p. 8.
  34. ^ "All stations on the Stour Line are Doomed – Councils to lead massive protest".
  35. ^ a b Gourvish 1986.
  36. ^ "Borders to Edinburgh railway: Track laying gets under way". BBC News. BBC. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  37. ^ Cook, Andrew (2013). 1963: That Was the Year That Was. The History Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-752-49231-5.
  38. ^ "Rye-Ashford Area (Public Transport)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 26 November 1970. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  39. ^ "Rail Engineer article – Derailed: The complicity dividend". Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  40. ^ a b c d e f Loft 2013.
  41. ^ Haywood 2016, pp. 210–251.
  42. ^ DfT 2007, p. 69.
  43. ^ "East West Rail link second phase plans submitted". BBC News. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  44. ^ "Route Selection – East West Rail". Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  45. ^ "Route Selection – East West Rail". Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  46. ^ a b Garry Keenor. "Railway Finances – Report of a Committee chaired by Sir David Serpell KCB CMG OBE". The Railways Archive. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  47. ^ "High speed service to run between Ashford and Hastings from London after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin attends rail summit". Kent Business. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  48. ^ Merriman 2007, p. 153.
  49. ^ "Ministers of the Crown (Private Interests)". Hansard. House of Commons. 28 January 1960. Vol. 616 c. 372. Mr R. Mellish: ... Is [Mr. R. A. Butler] aware that there has been a Press report, which I am unable to confirm or deny, that the Minister of Transport was in fact the senior partner of a firm of contractors which has obtained a contract worth £250,000 and that we understand, according to this Press report, that the right hon. Gentleman is now trying to dispose of the shares he has. In a case of this kind, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it most improper, at any rate, that any Minister of the Crown should be associated with any company with which such a contract is placed?
  50. ^ "Personal Statement". Hansard. House of Commons. 28 January 1960. Vol. 616 cc. 380–381. The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples): ... When I became Minister of Transport, last October, I realised that there was a risk of a conflict of interest appearing to arise in consequence of my holding a controlling interest in the company. I immediately took steps to effect a sale of my shares. It has taken some time to arrange this as the company is a private one engaged in long-term contracts in civil engineering, but I hope that it will be completed very soon. Then I shall have no financial interest in the company. But I think that I should tell the House that the prospective purchasers have required me to undertake to buy the shares back from them at the price they are to pay if they ask me to do so after I have ceased to hold office. I myself have no option to buy the shares back. I have not, of course, had anything whatsoever to do with any tenders put in by the company while I have been a member of the Government.
  51. ^ "Marples, Ridgway & Partners Limited". Hansard. House of Commons. 11 November 1964. Vol 701 c. 64W.
  52. ^ "M1". Hansard. House of Commons. 21 April 1967. Vol. 745 c. 173W.
  53. ^ "Reginald Ridgway". The Telegraph. 29 March 2002. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  54. ^ EcoLogics 2010, "A more critical interpretation is that after Macmillan named Marples as Minister of Transport, Britain’s transport policy swerved to the right, and became motivated by the kind of conflict of interest that Thompson notes can be loosely regarded as a form of corruption (9). Actually, in this case it may well have been a rather tight form of corruption. At the time that he was named minister, Marples owned 64,000 of the 80,000 shares of Marples Ridgeway, a civil engineering firm that specialised in building roads".
  55. ^ a b "British Transport Commission (Advisory Group)". Hansard. House of Commons. 6 April 1960. Vol. 621 cc. 393–394. In accordance with the statement which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made on 10th March, I have now appointed the body which will advise me and the British Transport Commission. It will be composed as follows: Chairman: Sir Ivan Stedeford, K.B.E., Chairman and Managing Director, Tube Investments Ltd. Members: Mr. C. F. Kearton, O.B.E., Joint Managing Director, Courtaulds, Dr. R. Beeching, A.R.C.S., B.Sc, Ph.D., Technical Director of I.C.I., Mr. H. A. Benson, C.B.E., F.C.A., partner in Cooper Bros., chartered accountants. The Treasury and the Ministry of Transport will also be represented. The task of the advisory body will be to examine the structure, finance and working of the organisations at present controlled by the Commission and to advise the Minister of Transport and the British Transport Commission, as a matter of urgency, how effect can best be given to the Government's intentions as indicated in the Prime Minister's statement.
  56. ^ Hardy 1989, pp. 44–48.
  57. ^ Dudley & Richardson 2000, pp. 48–49.
  58. ^ "Problems of Transportation". Hansard. House of Lords. 7 December 1960. Vol. 227 cc. 74–78. Lord Morrison of Lambeth: ... There has been appointed a highly secret, "under-the-counter" study group of the railways, the Stedeford Advisory Group. Now do not let it be thought that I have any prejudice against Sir Ivan Stedeford. I have a great respect for him: I think he is a very able business man. Indeed, I exercised some influence in getting him appointed as a Governor of the British Broadcasting Corporation, where he did good work. I have no prejudice; but I do not like the way the Government have handled it. They have never published the terms of reference, and I cannot believe that there are not any. They are refusing to publish the Report. In fact, they do not wholly admit that there is a Report; but there are recommendations, and they have not been published...
  59. ^ Celmins, M. (30 July 1995). "The man who was paid £24,000 a year". The Independent. "Is this man—or any man—worth £450 a week?" the Daily Sketch demanded to know. The Daily Express asked: "Is this the way to run a country?". The Daily Mail reassuringly observed "Dr Beeching rides the storm", while the Mirror calmly stuck to the facts. These were that Dr Richard Beeching, technical director of ICI, had been appointed head of the British Railways Board at a salary of £24,000 per annum ... Whatever the logic, politically it was a disaster.
  60. ^ Kahn-Freund 1963, p. 174.
  61. ^ 1967 Network for Development report and map
  62. ^ "Section 39: Grants for unremunerative passenger services" (PDF). Transport Act 1968. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. 58–60 (in work pp. 66–68). 1968 c. 73. If, in the case of any place or places to and from which railway passenger services are for the time being provided by the Railways Board, the Minister is satisfied (a) that those services are unremunerative; and (b) that it is desirable for social or economic reasons that railway passenger services to and from the place or places in question should for the time being continue to be provided either in the same or in some different form or manner; and (c) that because of the unremunerative nature of the services which the Minister is satisfied are desirable for those reasons (hereafter in this section referred to as "the required services") the Board cannot reasonably be expected to provide them without assistance under this section, then, subject to the provisions of this section, the Minister may from time to time with the consent of the Treasury undertake to make grants to the Board in respect of the provision of the required services for such period not exceeding three years at a time as the Minister may think fit.
  63. ^ The Railway Magazine. January 1969. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  64. ^ "The fall and rise of Britain's railways: Part 5". Rail UK. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  65. ^ "The 'bad news' report that helped build today's railway". Rail News. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  66. ^ "Britain's most hated civil servant". BBC News. 1 October 2008.
  67. ^ Davies 1982, p. 11.
  68. ^ "Andrew Adonis – 2019 Speech to the IPPR on Reversing Beeching". UKPOL. 7 June 2019.
  69. ^ a b "Table TSGB0101: Passenger transport by mode, annual from 1952" (ODS). Department for Transport. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  70. ^ DfT 2007, p. 70.
  71. ^ "Michael Williams: So much pain in our love of the train". The Independent. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  72. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 107.
  73. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 129, Section 6 – Passenger Services under Consideration for Withdrawal before the Formulation of the Report.
  74. ^ Beeching 1963a, p. 130.


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